Veterans assistance is easy to give and costs you very little. A few minutes a week makes a difference for the veteran and their families. What will you do?
While you and I live in peace and enjoy freedom, our nation's warriors make the ultimate sacrifice.
Today we have an opportunity to to show appreciation and kindness to those who serve our country.
It takes just a few minutes a week to make a big difference for the military and their families.
Use these 52 ideas as guide to give back to our military.
Start today and in one year you will achieve more to help our warriors than most Americans do in their entire lives!
Our active service members, veterans and their families will thank you.
1. Lend A Hand To A Military Family In Your Neighborhood
When mom or dad are away on active duty, the remaining family members have to deal with extra burdens. Get in touch and offer your friendship and support.
2. Help With The Kids
Give a military spouse some time off by offering to babysit for a couple of hours. Being a single parent can be tough and having some personal time means a lot.
3. Tutor After School
Homework time is always hectic, especially when one parent is deployed. If you're good at math or science help a family relieve academic pressure.
4. Get The Chores Done
Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow or helping to put up Christmas lights can mean the world to a parent with their hands full.
5. Take Them To The Zoo, A Museum, Or A Ball Game
Whenever you take your family out for fun activities, see if you have room for the warrior's children. Better yet, get the whole family to tag along.
6. Go Pro Bono
If you are a licensed professional of any kind; consider giving your contact information to the military spouse. Let them know that if they ever have an emergency, you will help them free of charge.
7. Make Birthdays Special
Planning a birthday party while also taking care of the house can be mind boggling. Offer to pick up the cake, or blow up some balloons if you still have some wind in you.
8. Pass Along Discounts & Offers
Simple gestures such as clipping extra diaper coupons, or going to membership only wholesale clubs together can help a family save a lot of money.
9. Take Out The Large Pot
Whenever you can, double the recipe you are preparing at home and give the second one to a military family. Few things show more love and appreciation than a home cooked meal. Plus the saved time will be greatly appreciated.
10. Hire Military Spouses
If you own a business, try to hire military spouses, caregivers and veterans. If you have jobs they can perform online that’s even better.
If you don’t own a business and still want to help them get a job, look through these companies that are actively hiring military spouses. Or if what they need is to work from home, this is a great list of alternatives.
11. Support Veteran Spouse Businesses
Many military spouses open small businesses to provide a stability to their families while our warriors are on active duty. These small businesses will also support the veteran and his or her family after they complete their service.
Make sure you purchase their goods and services and also tell your friends about them. If you don’t know any, you can click here to search for Military Spouse Owned Businesses in your area.
Send a personal handwritten "Thank You" letter to a military family and/or a deployed warrior. These organizations will make sure your letter reaches their destination.
Homesickness can get to all of us, especially those serving our country in hostile territory, away from the coziness of home. Care packages can make all the difference.
Click here to support the care package efforts.
14. Send Expired Coupons
The Overseas Coupon Program serves military families by assisting you to forward "manufacturer's coupons" to overseas military bases. These bundles of coupons are placed on tables, at the PX/ BX and Commissary, or handed out for use by military members and families on base. This helps the family save valuable dollars and stretch their budget.
15. Bake Treats, Make blankets, Provide Calling Cards And More
If you like to make things, Soldiers' Angels is a great place to volunteer. They have a bunch of programs that bring aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and a growing veteran population.
16. Adopt A US Soldier
Adopt A US Soldier is another great place to have a positive personal impact on a deployed soldier's life. They connect supportive civilians with deployed troops and offer a channel by which to communicate encouragement, and express gratitude to those brave men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces.
17. Sponsor A Military Family In Need During The Holidays
Holidays are the toughest time to be separated from a loved one. Make it easier for a family by helping them out any way you are able to. A meal, a present, a christmas tree for the families; a letter, a gift, a care package for the deployed.
Plan ahead and organize your neighborhood to pitch in and surprise the family with a complete holiday experience.
18. Lend A Shoulder
Something as simple as running an errand or taking a walk together can forge a friendship. Sometimes all one needs is a friendly face and a good ear.
19. Monetary Donations
Cash donations are by far the best way to support our active troops and the growing number of veterans.
Support a cause that's close to your heart and aligned with your beliefs.
We believe in creating an environment for Veterans and their families to better themselves financially once they are honorably discharged from any of the Armed Services.
If you share our beliefs, please help us provide jobs & Personal Businesses to veterans so they can sustain themselves financially.
Your donations empower veterans to become autonomous and proud again.
All monetary donations are tax deductible in the US and Canada.
Click here to learn more about the "Proud For Veterans" project.
20. Matching Gifts Programs
If you work for a company that runs a donation matching program, matching gifts is the gift that keeps giving.
Ask your employer about their matching gifts program. If they don't have one in place, encourage them to start one.
This is a free upgrade that doubles your power to make a big difference in our warrior's lives.
Check out this list of companies with donation matching programs to learn more.
21. Donate Stock & Securities
Donating stock instead of cash may help you get a bigger tax break. It will also boost the power of the charity you support to make a difference.
This strategy can seem complicated to some people, but here is a great guide on how to do it right.
22. Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Donations
Federal workers, retirees and government contractors are eligible to donate to the CFC.
Pledges can be recurring or one-time donations and are made online or by a paper pledge form. When giving online, you can contribute through the CFC by payroll deduction, credit card, debit card or eCheck. When giving using a paper pledge forms, you can contribute through the CFC by payroll deduction, cash or check.
If you are eligible or want to know more, go to the CFC FAQ section of their website.
23. Get Rid Of An Unwanted Car, Truck, RV, Boat, Or Plane
Any vehicle, anywhere in America, running or not can become a valuable donation. This is a free, easy, quick and secure alternative to selling or trading-in yourself.
You might qualify for a tax benefit and you will be a big help to our troops. Click here for more details.
24. Donate Clothes And Other Household Items
Vietnam Veterans Of America have a great program to help you declutter and make a difference at the same time.
They will pick up clothing and other household goods and use them to make a big difference in the lives of America’s Veterans and their families.
Check out the complete list of acceptable donations by clicking here.
25. Donate Food
Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated. Donated food can also include leftovers from events and surplus food inventory.
This type of donation benefits homeless veterans, the environment and society as a whole.
Click here for a great guide on food donations.
26. Sophisticated Donation Vehicles
If you have a large estate or need to have a more efficient tax strategy you can make charitable bequests to reduce the taxable value of an estate and/or donor-advised funds.
Pay a visit to a wounded warrior in the hospital and thank them for their service to our country. Recovery can be hard, why not make it a little less so by keeping them company, read them a book, or just talk to them.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than to your family; be that stranger for someone.
22. Say Thanks
When you see a veteran why not make them feel proud?
Shake their hand and thank them for their service. Be kind, respectful and honorable. Be the kind of person that service members join the military to protect. Show them that our country is still a great place to defend.
If you’re really lucky you come back unchanged from deployment. If you’re lucky you come back alive. The not so lucky come back with life changing conditions. Wheelchair bound, amputee... Help make their homes accessible to their new limitations.
Helping A Hero provides homes to our wounded heroes to equip them to transition successfully into their local community and to provide the tools they need to succeed in life.
Building Homes For Heroes goes the extra mile and builds or modifies homes by gifting, mortgage-free, to the veteran and their families.
Volunteering to drive a vet ensures that even those living remotely from VA hospitals can make their appointments and never go without the treatment they need.
Our nation’s heroes travel around the globe to protect our freedoms—it’s only right that we return their dedication.
DAV runs the best veterans assistance program in the country for wounded warriors that need a ride.
29. Train A Service Dog
Service dogs can bring a measure of peace and functionality to veterans who are facing a war all over again as they cope with anxieties born of service-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST).
K9 Partners For Patriots has one of the best programs in the country. You can support their efforts here.
30. Greenlight A Vet
America’s veterans are some of our nation’s bravest, hardest-working men and women. However, it’s hard to show them the appreciation they deserve when, back home and out of uniform, they’re more camouflaged than ever. Greenlight A Vet is a campaign to establish visible national support for our veterans by changing one light to green.
31. Help with family travel and lodging
No one does this better than Fisher House Foundation.
Fisher Houses provide military families housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.
Their Hero Miles Program provides round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured, and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center; or who are attending an authorized event. Flights are made possible through frequent flyer mile donations made by individual airline passengers.
Finally their Hotels for Heroes program provides hotel rooms to the families of wounded, injured, and ill military service members who are undergoing treatment at authorized medical centers when a Fisher House is not available. Rooms are made possible through the donation of rewards points by the hotel's rewards members.
32. Get Involved With Veterans Assistance Programs
What our brave soldiers live with when deployed changes them forever. They can’t unsee what they’ve seen, they can’t forget what they’ve lived. They can’t undo what they’ve done. Let them know we appreciate their service by getting involved.
Hire Heroes USA provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, veterans and military spouses.
Click here to see how you can make a difference.
34. Write A Letter To Your Elected Officials Asking Them To Support Pro-military And Veteran Legislation
Learn about veterans. Find out what issues are affecting veterans and fight for them with your vote. Let elected officials know that veterans causes are important to you. Let your vote speak for you!
35. Volunteer At A Va Hospital
Our veterans put everything on the line to protect our freedom. We may never be able to repay them for their sacrifice, but we can show them just how much we appreciate all that they’ve done.
Everyone can do something to show Veterans know how much we appreciate their service. Click here to learn more about what you can do to help.
36.Offer A Military Discount To Both Active Duty And Veterans. Extend This Discount To Their Families As Well.
America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Our brave soldiers who go out and fight to keep us free at home deserve any reward we can offer them as a thank you. Join the thousands of companies who honor our heroes and their families. If you own a business or provide some sort of service, offer them a discount or coupons of some sort.
37. Show Up At Events And Brush Up On Your Patriotic Etiquette
Support active service members and vets by attending local events and parades in their honor. Make sure to wear patriotic colors.
Make them feel proud for serving our country. Let them know we appreciate their sacrifices. Show your support by rallying for these events.
38. Pick Up The Tab:
If you are in a position to do so and can buy a Veteran a drink or meal, consider doing it anonymously. Some Veterans are uncomfortable with public displays of gratitude, a short note saying thanks in their check delivered anonymously will do.
39. Educate Yourself About The Veteran's Reality
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST) have a huge impact on our veterans.
Learn as much as you can about these and other conditions. The more you know, the more you can help.
40. Hire Veterans
If you want to take more serious steps , apply for the Military Friendly Designation.
41. Buy From Veteran-Owned Businesses
Buy Veteran is by far the best place to find veteran owned businesses.
This campaign is run by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) to bring the success and momentum of the National Veteran Business Movement to all of America’s 3 million veteran-owned businesses.
Buy Veteran lets everyday, Main Street, consumer-facing veteran-owned businesses in every city and small town in America capitalize on the trust and gratitude to help their businesses grow.
Click here to browse their Veteran Owned Business Directory.
42. Know The Basics About The Branches Of The Military
Most veterans will appreciate if you actually know what they call the members of their particular branch of service and what each branch does.
BRANCHES OF THE U.S. MILITARY
This video will give you a very decent summary...
For more in depth knowledge about the U.S. Military, study this article.
43. Fly An American Flag
Nothing inspires more pride in this great country of ours than looking at a properly flown American Flag.
Make sure you display it properly to remind us all of what our brave warriors make their sacrifices for.
44. Visit An Elderly Veteran In Your Community And Provide Companionship And Appreciation
It is no secret seniors are a vulnerable demographic. Many of them are lonely in their old age. This is an unfortunate situation for any elderly person, especially those who’ve served our country, adding feeling discarded after their service and sacrifice to the usual troubles.
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. They transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.
46. Share Their Stories
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
You can be the link between the project and thousands of veterans with stories to share.
A participant may be a veteran or an interviewer. You can find all the documents needed to participate here.
Which comes first, the job or the home? Sometimes veterans are homeless because of joblessness, but sometimes they are jobless because of homelessness alone. NVHS offers a drug and alcohol free housing environment for homeless and transitioning veterans while they seek employment, get back on their feet, and attempt to rejoin society.
Currently NVHS operates in Central Florida only. But the more support they get the more they can expand.
In the meantime you can follow their example and adapt the project to your community.
48. Stand Down
Stand Downs are regional collaborations between the Veterans Administration and local community based organizations and health care providers. They provide a safe environment for homeless Veterans to receive food, clothing, medical care and other services.
Here is everything you need to know to participate.
49. Encourage Local Schools To Educate Our Children About The Sacrifices Made By Our Military For Their Freedom
Our Nation's history would be different were it not for our veterans. While our new generation learns about the wars and events that shaped our present, they should also learn more about the military branches that keep shaping our future.
50. Talk To The Media And Encourage Them To Highlight More Local And Military Events.
24% percent of respondents reported that they did not perceive their community to be supportive of veterans, but after attending public events, more than 93% reported that positively improved their perception of community support.
If the media promotes these events, they will be more successful and hopefully help more veterans. Nowadays social media has proven to be an effective tool as well. Share military stories to create awareness.
51. Take Care Of Military Grave Sites
Honor and remember the veterans who gave us so much by taking care of their final resting place.
Here are some things you can do:
- Prune and sculpt cemetery trees
- Mend cemetery flags
- Sponsor a burial area or flower bed and maintain it all year long
- Resurface and repaint/stain cemetery benches used for reflection and rest
Contact a VA National Cemetery near you and ask about volunteering opportunities.
52. Invite A Warrior To Holiday Meals And Celebrations
Set one or two extra spots on the table for troop members you invite during the holidays. During these special occasions many warriors feel lonely and melancholic. You can contact the Community Relations Office of your local base to get more information.
Veterans assistance is easy to give and costs you very little. A few minutes a week makes a difference for the military and their families. What will you do?